As the Virginia Cavaliers’ men’s lacrosse season edges closer and closer, the premier site for college lacrosse coverage Inside Lacrosse has released both its preseason poll and its preseason All-Americans. As the team was last year as well, the Wahoos have been slotted as the #1 team in the country with 14 of the 26 first place votes. Immediately behind Virginia is the team who knocked UVA out of the tournament last season on their way to a dominant, undefeated National Championship; the Maryland Terrapins.
While Maryland lost the vast majority of its offensive production to graduation, the defense is mostly intact. Thus, they’re rightfully sitting at the two spot. UVA and the Terps will face off on March 18th in Charlottesville for another heavyweight battle. Third and fourth in the poll are Georgetown and Cornell. The Hoyas suffered an embarrassing first round defeat to Delaware last May but have reloaded with a number of splashy offensive transfers while the Big Red were the national runners up to the Terps.
Fifth in the poll is the second ACC squad — the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who bring back much of the same core from a team that actually missed the NCAA Tournament last season. Nevertheless, the talent is there for the Irish to be improved, especially with one or two big time additions defensively. Virginia will play a home and away with Kevin Corrigan’s squad with the first game in South Bend on March 25th and the second in Charlottesville on Sunday April 30th.
#8 Duke is the next ranked opponent for the Wahoos this season with neither #6 Princeton nor #7 Yale included in the schedule. Virginia also gets Duke — who the program has struggled against mightily over the last two decades — twice this season with the two games almost within a two week span as the first contest is home on Friday March 31st and the second in Durham on Saturday April 15th. The collection of games with Notre Dame and Duke should both mean that UVA has a tougher time winning the ACC but also should have a stronger strength of schedule and (ideally) better resume come May.
New non-conference opponents in #11 Ohio State and #13 Harvard should only help that SOS with those games coming early in the season as Virginia hosts Harvard on February 18th and plays the Buckeyes in Naples, Florida the following Saturday.
#19 North Carolina and #20 Richmond are the final two ranked teams that Lars Tiffany and company will play this season with college lacrosse powerhouses and UVA rivals Syracuse and Johns Hopkins both only receiving votes. For the full schedule, click here and for the full poll you can check it out here.
With eight total selections, the Cavaliers placed attackman Connor Shellenberger on first team, midfielder (and Vermont transfer) Thomas McConvey and close defender Cole Kastner on second team, attackman Payton Cormier on third team, and midfielder Jeff Conner, FOGO Petey LaSalla, short stick defensive midfielder Grayson Sallade, and close defender Cade Saustad as honorable mention selections. You can see the full list of All-Americans here.
I, for one, wouldn’t have left out top 2021 prospect Griffin Schutz as his transition from midfield to attack should mean much higher usage than last season. In the flashes we saw from his 23-goal, seven-assist freshman campaign, his physicality at 6’3”, 220 is scary as he can be used in a variety of different ways on offense. He could be the key to unlocking this group’s potential and, considering the success highly rated prospects like him have had when moving to attack for UVA of late, it’s hard to not see a breakout year coming for Schutz.
Keep your eyes peeled for more UVA lacrosse coverage in the coming days and weeks, including perhaps some coverage via the STL podcast...